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Edward Smith (c. 1756–?)

Edward Smith (c.1756- ) was found guilty on 15 September 1784 at the Old Bailey, London, of stealing a cambric handkerchief. Sentenced to 7 years transportation, he was sent to the Ceres hulk on 5 April 1784, where he remained until he embarked for New South Wales on the Scarborough in February 1787, arriving in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet.

Smith was sent to Norfolk Island on the Golden Grove in October 1788. He lived with Catherine Johnson on the island; they had three children and by 1791 had settled on 12 acres at Grenville Vale. They may have been one of the many couples who were married in a mass wedding ceremony held on the island in November 1791. It seems they had separated by June 1794. Johnson left Norfolk Island on the Daedalus in November 1794 with their two surviving children, Elizabeth (b.1791) and William (b.1792) for Sydney. Smith left the island on the Fancy in March 1795. 

From 1802 Smith began using the surname Beckford. In May 1802 he was a crewman on the brig Norfolk. In 1806 he was working as a sealer for Henry Kable and between 1914-20 he was a crew member of the schooner, Elizabeth and Mary. He still gave his occupation as mariner in 1828.

information from

  • Mollie Gillen, The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet (1989), p 334
  • Cathy Dunn, People of HM Supply Norfolk Island March 1789 (2016), pp 24-29

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Smith, Edward (c. 1756–?)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Beckford, Edward
  • Bedford, Edward

c. 1756

Passenger Ship
Key Events
Convict Record

Crime: theft
Sentence: 7 years